Due to the economic recession, there is, for the first time in nearly 15 years, a waiting list for the Florida Department of Healthโ€™s AIDS Drug Assistant Program, reports the Florida Times-Union.

The program is โ€œa benefit program of last resort for those who have contracted the virus and canโ€™t afford the pricey retro-viral medication.โ€

The increasing need comes from patients who have lost their jobs and are no longer able to afford insurance. The medication can cost upwards of $10,000 a year.

โ€œUntil April of this year, we have always been able to provide services uninterrupted to someone HIV positive and qualified,โ€ Tom Liberti, chief of the Department of Health HIV/AIDS bureau, told the Times-Union. โ€œWhen the recession began, we could see this perfect storm developing, where demand for services increased and federal and state resources did not.โ€

According to the Times-Union, more money has gone into testing and prevention, and the number of new infections is dropping. However, Florida still ranks in the top three states for HIV infection rates.

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